CT bill would offer property tax relief in booming housing market

A proposed bill could offer property owners in some Connecticut municipalities a brief reprieve by allowing local officials to delay property reassessments for up to a year.

Connecticut’s real estate values ​​have rebounded during the COVID-19 pandemic to levels not seen since the mid-2000s housing boom, as residents of New York’s skyscrapers sought an escape to the style of city ​​and country life.

In some cases, this has impacted the annual tax bills that homeowners and businesses pay to the municipalities where they are located. Bridgeport’s “big list” of property values ​​jumped 23% last year, with homeowners having until early this week to appeal.

Democrats proposed the bill last week in the Connecticut General Assembly, where it will undergo initial consideration by the Planning and Development Committee. The bill would allow municipalities to delay any initiation of reassessments until 2023 for up to a year.

“The municipality can vote on that,” said state Rep. David Michel, D-Stamford. “I believe in letting the cities decide that, especially on the assumption that it may offer temporary relief to many, in the event that the stimulus ends with a property tax increase, which seems very likely for many owners.”

The co-chairmen of the committee are Senator Steve Cassano, D-4, a former mayor of Manchester whose district includes Glastonbury and Bolton which are due for reassessment in 2022 and 2023, respectively, and Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey, D-Fairfield.

As part of his budget plan, Governor Ned Lamont has proposed expanding Connecticut’s property tax credit to $300 a year from its current level of $200, and ending a restriction that doesn’t allowed only taxpayers with dependents or those age 65 and over to qualify.

“Property tax is pretty relentless — you pay it in the good times, you pay it in the bad times,” Lamont said this month when he announced the tax credit expansion. “It’s hitting the middle class particularly hard, and we’re doing everything we can to mitigate that.”

Under Connecticut law, municipalities conduct property reassessments every five years, with ratepayers able to challenge those findings to lower their property assessments.

Stamford, Danbury, Middletown, Ansonia, Bethel, Guilford, Newtown, Orange, Redding, Ridgefield and Wilton are among those with ongoing reassessments this year.

Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Madison and Weston are scheduled for reassessments next year, which could be pushed back a year under the bill.

For reassessments completed in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, Connecticut values ​​totaled $392 billion covering homes, cars, apartments, commercial buildings and other property subject to assessment for tax purposes. . This is an increase of $7.1 billion over the previous year.

In 2020, Bridgeport saw the biggest increase in value of the Big List, a 23% increase over 2019. Many Bridgeport ratepayers have spoken out after seeing their bills rise following a reassessment of 2016.

Includes earlier reports by Julia Bergman and Brian Lockhart.

[email protected]; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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